Nick Paul scored twice, including an incredible individual effort on the winner late in the second period, as the Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 2-1 in Game 7 on Saturday to win their first-round playoff series 4-3.

Andrei Vasilevskiy made 30 saves for the two-time defending Stanley Cup champions.

Morgan Rielly replied for Toronto, which hasn’t moved onto the second round since 2004 and is now 0-9 in elimination games over the last five post-seasons after also losing Game 6 by a 4-3 scoreline in Tampa two nights earlier.

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Jack Campbell stopped 23 shots.

Despite their best efforts, the Leafs were once again unable to push through and finally flip an long, ugly narrative of playoff failures for a franchise that has now lost its last seven series, including six straight dating back to 2017.

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Toronto Maple Leafs centre Auston Matthews (34) reacts after an NHL first-round playoff series defeat against the Tampa Bay Lightning in Toronto on Saturday, May 14, 2022.


Toronto is now 7-3 all-time at home in Game 7s, including a loss at Scotiabank Arena last season after blowing a 3-1 series lead against the Montreal Canadiens.

© 2022 The Canadian Press

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